21 Apr 2014


Sumptuous creamy coconut wild mushroom stroganoff, with a hint of smoked paprika wondering it's way through the rich creamy mushroom infused coconut cream.

How I did not know how gorgeous and good for you the paleo lifestyle is bemuses me, I am so very happy to have finally discovered a list of foods that overwhelm me with healthy cooking inspiration, I cannot wait to eat my way to fabulousness and very proud that I have to date lost 3stone 9lb, no kcal counting and an abundance of gorgeous honest healthy fats like avocado, coconut oil, lean meats, fish and fresh vegetables.

(serves 2)
(any mushrooms are great with this dish)
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 cep (if in season)
100g Chantalle
100g oyster mushroom
200g chestnut mushrooms
1 tsp smoked paprika
3 spring onions finely chopped
250ml dry white wine (optional-use stock)
300ml coconut milk
bunch fresh parsley chopped
1/2 lime juice
1 head of cauliflower (for rice)

First slice or tear your mushrooms, heat a deep pan and melt the coconut oil medium hot, pan fry the mushrooms gently for one to two minutes, mushrooms should only ever kiss the pan.  Remove the mushrooms from the pan and crank up the heat, add the wine or stock and reduce by half, turn the heat down to a gentle just simmer and add the coconut milk, spring onion and mushrooms.  Cook for a further five minutes or so until you have a lovely medium thick sauce, add the paprika, parsley and lime juice, taste and season with salt and pepper if needed, sprinkle a pinch more smoked paprika and parsley over the finished dish to serve.  This goes great with cauliflower rice.

Take the head of cauliflower and coarsely grate, bring a large pan of water up to a rolling boil and pop in the cauliflower, cook for 2 minutes until just tender, but still with a little bite, drain and serve immediately.

20 Apr 2014


Gorgeous coconut and harissa curry with turkey, peppers, courgettes, coriander, leeks, broccoli, and curry powder, quick and simple to make in around 15 minutes and a really fragrant dinner.

(serves 2)

250g turkey breast diced
1 tsp coconut oil
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp tamarind 
1 tsp harissa 
200ml coconut milk
1 green pepper sliced
100g stem broccoli
1 leek diced
1/2 bunch of asparagus rough chopped
1 courgette rough chopped
salt and pepper to taste
 small bunch of coriander torn
1 tbsp dried chillies
1/2 lime juiced optional
1 cauliflower for rice (optional)

Heat the coconut oil in a pan and seal the diced turkey, season with the curry powder and turmeric, add the tamarind and harissa mix well, add the coconut milk, bring to a gentle simmer, sometimes I add a bit of homemade stock to loosen this or more coconut milk if you like.  Once simmering add the green pepper, broccoli, asparagus and courgette, simmer for a couple of minutes, add the leek, coriander and dried chillies, season with salt and pepper to taste if needed, now if you fancy a slightly more sour note to the sweet coconut add the lime juice and that's it a super quick dinner.  A side of cauliflower rice goes well with this.

Take one whole cauliflower and grate, simmer in boiling water for a couple of minutes, you do not want to over cook this, if you do turn the cauliflower into mash.  Drain in a sieve and serve fluffed up as you would have done in the past with rice.  How wonderful it is to still have your favourite foods just adapted slightly and gaining more flavour and super health to boot, what more can you ask for!

18 Apr 2014


Glorious spice fragrant hot cross buns, lightly toasted and topped with lashings of Irish creamy butter, a wonderful way to celebrate Easter.  I have never made hot cross buns before but was surprised how easy and un-complicated these were, I love working with dough and I knew these were going to be good as the dough was gorgeous and light to handle.  These only take 10 minutes to make and 3 x 1hr proves I followed/tweaked a little, Paul Hollywood's good food recipe

(makes 15)

500g 00 flour
10g yeast
1 tsp salt
100g caster sugar
300ml warm milk
80g butter melted
1 egg beaten
1 apple grated
Zest of one orange
1 tsp heaped ground cinnamon
100g dried fruit
25g mixed peel
100g plain flour
1 tbsp apricot jam

Place the flour, salt, sugar and yeast in a mixing bowl, warm the milk and butter together until the butter has melted.  Make a well in the centre of the flour and add the warm milk and the beaten egg, using a wooden spoon bring the mixture together to form a dough and knead for 5 minutes.  Place in a oiled bowl and cover the top with oiled clingfilm, not touching the dough, place in a warm place to prove for 1 hour.  Take the dried fruit and place in a bowl, add a fragrant teabag and pour over some hot water to soften the fruit.

Once 1 hour up mix in the cinnamon, apple, orange zest, mixed peel and dried fruit, (drain off the tea) and leave to prove again for another hour, the dough will be slightly wet and sticky that is good.

After this second prove, dust your worktop with flour and tip out your dough, divide the dough into 15 equal ish size balls and place on a greased baking tray with space around each bun to allow room for expansion, cover with oiled clingfilm loosely and again prove for another hour.

Now to apply your cross, mix the flour with some water to make a thick paste, fill a pipping bag and pipe on the cross.  Now they are ready to bake, 200 degrees for 18-20 minutes.  Once cooked glaze the top with some warm apricot jam, saw in half and pop under the grill to toast, load with way to much butter and I like to pop back under the grill for 30 seconds again to get the mound of butter melting from the top as the bottom will have soaked into the bun making these the best ever hot cross buns, eat immediately.

13 Apr 2014


This is one of my top ten favourites a bowl of abundance full of honest goodness, hot, sour and sumptuous to boot!  This is a soul restoring meal, which leaves you with a glowing sense of well being.  Your body knows you love it when you eat this chicken broth. I have this for breakfast, lunch or dinner there is no rules to this dish, as it depends on which continent you are in if its breakfast or a dinner meal.  This chicken broth has clinically been proven to be 25% as effective as penicillin.

(serves 4 with lots of left over poached chicken for other meals)

1 organic chicken
2 carrots peeled and halved
1 leek halved
2 sticks celery halved
10 black peppercorns
pinch of sea salt
1 habanero chilli (optional)

4 tsp tom yum paste
2 tsp tamarind paste
3 tbsp fish sauce
1/2 tsp turmeric
2 tsp Harrissa
3" ginger grated
2 cloves garlic grated
1 tsp honey (optional)
1 lime juiced
1 stalk lemongrass bashed
1 bunch asparagus
100g watercress
100g spinach
1 pepper diced
1 chili sliced
200g raw cold water prawns
1 small bunch coriander roughly torn

This is a two stage cook, you can cook the chicken days in advance and enjoy the poached meat for other meals before making this tom yum style broth.  I am always poaching a chicken at some point in the week so this dish came about from the leftover poached chicken stock, in fact this is such an old historic dish in South East Asia it is as normal  to this as our fish and chips to us!  I know what I would rather eat!  

In a large saucepan or pressure cooker place your chicken, carrots, leeks, celery, habanero, peppercorns and salt, fill the pan up as much as you can with water and bring to a gentle simmer, you don't want to rush this stock, so a just rolling simmer is perfect, you can cook this quicker on a higher heat, but it will not give you clarity in the stock.  Cook for approx 2hrs and then take off the heat and leave the chicken to cool in the stock, this is important as the chicken will re-absorb some of it's own stock, making the meat extra soft and juicy, once cooled remove the chicken and strain and reserve the stock, taste for seasoning and add some salt and pepper if needed, sometimes I do add some organic chicken stock to give a meatier flavour if I have used too much water.

Now the chicken has cooled, pick off all the meat, I like to tub up the meat, the legs go for my husband, the breast and other meat for this and other meals and any jelly style bits go in a loaf tin with the fat and skin that I set in the fridge for the dogs.  In all one chicken feeds my family for a three meals each and my two dogs a Great Dane and Cocker Spaniel for two days, (see piri piri chicken blog).

Now for the fun quick easy part, place your stock (3 ladles per portion, this recipe is for 12 ladles of stock, 4 people), in a deep sauce pan and add the tom yum, tamarind, turmeric, fish sauce, harrisa, ginger, garlic, lime juice, bashed stick of lemongrass and optional honey, I don't add this but if you wanted more of a sweet and sour tang do. 

Bring to a gently simmer, add the chopped asparagus and two minutes later the fresh prawns, don't boil, simmer, cook for 3 minutes, now this is super fast bit, so meanwhile in this three minute window get everything ready to go, I place my bowls on the work top and layer them with some of the cold cooked chicken, the watercress, spinach, peppers and sliced chilies, then when ready to serve just ladle over the stock with the prawns, asparagus and gorgeous tom yum style aromatic harissa broth, finish off with a sprinkle off coriander.  This is the best ever outstanding gorgeous meal :-)

12 Apr 2014


Cooking in a clay pot is one of the most glorious ways to guarantee the most juiciest meat and a thick sumptuous sauce from all the juices from the chicken, beautifully combined with the yogurt, herbs and spices.  This is a simple one pot cook which is packed with flavour that will have you wiping your plate clean with your flat breads!

(serves 4)
Don't panic you do not have to make your own spices you can buy good Tandoori spice mix from most supermarkets, which means just skip to adding all spices to the yogurt marinade part.

4 chicken quarters
1 tbsp ghee
1 large onion puréed 
2 cloves garlic puréed 
5 cardamom pods, seeds only
1tsp cumin seeds
tiny pinch ground cloves
1/2 tsp black peppercorns
2 tsp coriander seeds
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
2tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
1tbsp tandoori masala powder
1lrg pinch of salt
2" piece of ginger grated
6 cloves of garlic grated
1/2 juice of a lemon
300g Greek yogurt

First make the marinade for the chicken, in a dry frying pan gently warm up the coriander seeds, cumin seeds, black peppercorns, place in a pestle and mortar or a coffee grinder and pound to a powder, next intake a saucepan add the ghee and on a medium heat add the puréed onions and garlic, cook for 5 minutes until softened, add the ground spices and all the dry ingredients mix well.  

Next place the yogurt in a bowl and add the 6 cloves of grated garlic, ginger and the lemon juice and all the other mixed spices, mix well and coat the chicken quarters thoroughly with the marinade, leave in the bowl, place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, overnight is even better.

Take your terracotta crock pot, tandoori oven or chicken brick and pour the chicken and marinade into the pot with a little water, place the lid on and cook for approx 45 minutes at 180 degrees for the first 20 minutes and 160 degrees for the rest of the time, check that your chicken is cook through before serving.  

When you take the lid of your tandoori pot the aromas will be outstanding, serve with fluffy rice, flat breads and a side of yogurt with some Harissa paste rippled through.

6 Apr 2014


For my gorgeous mum on mothers day, her favourite ravioli filling, it was my pleasure to make from scratch these gorgeous parcels of sumptuousness for my mum.  My mum wanted a simple strong cheddar and Parmesan cheese sauce with a drizzle of San Marzano tomato sauce, to finish her sumptuous, mascarpone, ricotta and rocket stuffed ravioli.

(serves 4)
500g 00 flour
50g rocket salad leaf
2 eggs beaten
3 egg yolks whisked
Good pinch of salt
250g marscapone cheese
200g ricotta cheese
salt and pepper
50g spinach
pinch of nutmeg
1/2 zest of lemon
1 can of San Marzano tomatoes
glug of olive oil
1 shallot finely diced
1 clove garlic grated
sprigs of fresh basil
sprig of fresh thyme
Sea salt and fresh black pepper
30g butter
30g plain flour
300-500ml creamy milk
400g strong cheddar cheese
100g Parmesan cheese
Sea salt and black pepper

I know this looks like a lot of work but it really is not, it is a few simple jobs, two that can be done days before, that produce the most outstanding and gorgeous Italian produce Ravioli one of the best I have ever made, my mum said so!  So onto making the pasta...

Finely chop the rocket and mix with the salt into your flour, tip out onto you work top and make a deep well in the centre, mix the beaten eggs and whisked yolks together and pour into the centre, now gently flick some of the flour into the eggs and start to mix the two together, now fair warning I always have a run away leak of egg onto the work top at some point so be prepared and just quickly fluff over some of the flour on to the escape egg and that will put you back in control. keep going until you have mixed all the flour with the eggs, knead your dough for 5 minutes and form a ball, cling wrap and leave to rest if you can for upto 1 hour.

Take your ball of pasta, dust your work top with lots of semolina, cut the dough half and using a rolling pin (as all the Nono's do in Italy) roll out each half , (approx 6" wide and as long as you can get it) as thin as you can and don't give in, keep going the thinner you go the lighter your ravioli will be.  Leave the two long layers of pasta on your work top, if your are not ready to stuff immediately cover with damp paper roll.

Take your ricotta, marscarpone, lemon zest, spinach, nutmeg, smash potato, salt and pepper and mix well together.  Taking one line of pasta place a spoon full of the filling on the pasta, I make two lines of filling on this sheet all the way alone approx 4" apart, then egg wash around each spoonful of filling, place the other sheet of pasta on top and then using a pasta ravioli cutter or knife and fork to crimp cut out your ravioli.  Place on a tray dusted with semolina until needed.  Now onto making your two quick sauces.

First make the tomato sauce, heat a dash of olive oil in a pan, add the shallot and garlic and gently pan fry until soft, add the tomatoes, thyme and basil and once simmering crush with a potato masher, season with salt and pepper and simmer until a medium thickness consistency or as you like.

To make the cheese sauce, melt the butter on a low heat, add the flour and mix well, on a low heat cook for 5 minutes to start cooking out the flour flavour, now start to add the milk a good glug at a time, whisking well incorporating all the milk into the roux before adding the next glug of milk, once you have a medium thick sauce, bring to a simmer and add all the cheese, stir in well and once melted season with salt and pepper, if you feel you sauce is too thick add a little more milk to loosen.

Now to cook your Ravioli, bring a simmering pan of water to the boil and season with salt, have your sauces gently just simmering on the stove ready to go, pop your ravioli into the pan of boiling water and cook for 3 minutes, drain and drizzle with olive oil, serve the ravioli into your pasta bowls and top with a generous spoonful of cheese sauce and a drizzle of tomato sauce.  Don't dilly dally as you want to eat your ravioli hot.

3 Apr 2014


Wahoo a supper that feels like a cheat dinner but it is not, wonderful to cook for the whole family and to be able to enjoy with them.  The parsnip mash is gorgeous, I was hesitant but not anymore.

(serves 4-6)

1kg chuck mince (from your butcher)
1 tbsp coconut oil
4 spring onions finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic grated
1 rich stock pot knorr
salt and pepper
pinch of cayenne pepper
pinch of cumin
pinch of oregano
1 400g tin of tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato puree
3 large carrots
10 large parsnips
1 tbsp goats butter

First peel the parsnips and pop onto boil, finely dice the carrots and simmer in water until soft, remove and reserve, meanwhile heat the oil in a deep pan and soften the onions and garlic for a few minutes, add the mince and crank up the heat, I like to catch the mince and caramelise a little as this adds great depth of flavour to the dish.  Once all the meat is caramelised and browned off add the stock pot, tomato puree, cumin, cayenne pepper, oregano, tin of tomatoes, the cooked carrots and then season with the salt and pepper, stir well and bring to a simmer for a few minutes and then transfer into a roasting/baking dish.

Once the parsnips are soft and ready to be mashed, drain and mash well, season with salt and pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil if you want.  Top the roasting/baking dish with the parsnip mash and bake in the oven at 200 degrees for 20 minutes until all the gorgeous meat juices bubble up and infuse with the crispy baked parsnip mash topping.  I served this as is but a lovely mixed leaf salad or a generous serving of asparagus, mangetout, stem broccoli and green beans would equally go well.